6 Ways to Help a Loved One with Bipolar Disorder
Bipolar disorder is neither a common condition nor is it a rare brain disorder. According to the World Health Organisation (data – 2016), India has one of the highest depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder cases in the world.
How To Help A Person With Bipolar Disorder?
Helping a person with bipolar disorder can be challenging and unrewarding at times, but the key is to not give up and to be patient. Here are 6 ways to help your loved one the right way and make their journey easy.
Understand What Bipolar Disorder Means
Bipolar disorder is a condition that involves a myriad of emotions, with individuals often swinging from one mood to another. These extreme mood swings can range from hopelessness or sadness to cheerfulness and elation and can occur from a few times a year to several times a week. Educating yourself about the illness will help you understand what your loved one might be going through during their mood swings, and will help you empathise with them.
Lend An Ear
If a loved one suffering from bipolar disorder needs you to simply lend an ear, then what you need to do is just be there to listen. This is because sometimes they don’t need your advice. They just want someone they can trust to be around. Be there! They will appreciate your involvement. At the end of it, you can always assure them that you will be available whenever they want to have a talk.
Look Out For Anxiety Triggers
Individuals with bipolar disorder may find simple tasks overwhelming. You might notice your bipolar friend might be crippled with anxiety when faced with seemingly simple tasks at times. While it might seem irrational, do as much as you can to help, without passing any judgements about their perceived incompetence. Offer to help them with the task at hand without being patronizing or dismissive and make a note of any triggers for future reference.
Help Them Socialise
People suffering from bipolar disorder prefer staying indoors, but fresh air never hurts and in their case, it helps a great deal. Gently urge them to go out on a walk with you. Go to the park, watch a fun movie, sit at a cafe, walk at the seashore, or watch the sunset. Something as simple as inviting them home, if they don’t live with you, can be helpful. Help them understand that you want them to be a part of your life.
Give Them Their Space
Individuals suffering from bipolar disorder tend to love solitude. While your care and affection is needed, it may not be appreciated all the time. Keep in mind that they need their space. Hovering around them constantly may lead them to believe that they are not independent enough. Help them cultivate some self-trust by letting them carry out certain tasks on their own.
Be A Part Of Their Support Group
Offer to go along with them when they visit their support group. This will motivate them to keep going and to take care of themselves. Encourage them to also read about mental awareness campaigns. It helps to know that you are not alone and are being supported by many others who are also fighting this journey.
As mentioned earlier, helping those suffering from mental diseases like bipolar disorder and depression can be really challenging. Keeping yourself well informed about the disorder and tracking your loved one’s behaviour patterns will make things easier for you.